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Traveling with Money
You should try to bring at least one internationally-recognized credit card. Find out what your credit card limit is before you leave and do not exceed it. In some countries, travelers who have innocently exceeded their limit have been arrested for fraud. It is strongly suggested that you leave unneeded credit cards at home.
Use Travelers Checks
Try and bring most of your money in the form of traveler's checks. Carry a reasonable amount of cash with you, but no more than you will need for a couple of days.. You can always convert your traveler's checks as you use them rather than all at once.
Check with your travel agent or the embassy or consulate of the countries you are planning to visit to learn their currency restrictions. In some countries it is a violation of law to enter or exit with that country's currency. Before departing from the United States, you should purchase small amounts of foreign currency and coins. These can be used for buses, taxis, telephone calls, and other incidentals when you first arrive in a country. You may purchase foreign currency from some banks or from foreign exchange dealers. Money exchange facilities can be found in most international airports.
In some of the more modern countries abroad, ATMs (Automated Teller Machines) are becoming increasingly popular. These ATMs can be accessed by your local bank card depending on which service is available. The exchange rates are comparable to the going rate of exchange. You should check with your local bank to find out which ATM service is available in the country you plan to visit. ATMs may not always be available, so this should be used as only a backup method. You should not depend solely on ATM service for all your financial transactions in another country. If you must take jewelry or other valuables, use hotel security vaults to store them. It is recommended that you register such items with U.S. Customs before leaving the United States. This will make customs processing easier when you return.
When abroad, local banks generally give more favorable rates of exchange than hotels, restaurants, or stores for converting your U.S. dollars and traveler's checks into foreign currency.
It is also recommended that you leave instructions for friends or relatives at home, on how to forward money to you in the event of an emergency.
It is also recommend that you review your health insurance policy before you travel. In some places, particularly at resort areas, medical costs can be as high or higher than in the United States.
Make sure you have a back up plan in case your passport is lost or stolen. In the event that you need a replacement, you should have all the necessary tools. Before traveling, photocopy the data page at the front of your passport; write down the addresses and telephone numbers of the U.S. embassies and consulates in the countries you plan to visit; and put this information along with two recent passport-size photographs in a place separate from your passport. You should leave a copy of this information with a friend or family member. This information should be easily accessible. Copies of your drivers license and any other pertinent information should also be stored in a separate place.
If you require medication, bring an ample supply in its original containers. Do not use pill cases. There are strict laws concerning narcotics throughout the world, bring along copies of your prescriptions and, if possible, carry a letter from your physician explaining your need for that particular drug. As an extra precaution, bring the generic names of your medications with you. Pharmaceutical companies overseas may use different names from those used in the United States. If you wear eyeglasses, take an extra pair with you. Make sure to pack medicines and extra eyeglasses in your hand luggage in case your checked luggage is lost. To be extra secure, you should pack a backup supply of medicines and an additional pair of eyeglasses in your checked luggage. Consider wearing a "medical alert" bracelet if you have allergies, reactions to certain medications, foods, or insect bites, or other unique medical problems. You may also wish to carry a letter from your physician explaining desired treatment should you become ill.
Other useful links
Take a look at our Travel Tools section for useful links including a currency converter, weather reports and more.
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